An estimated 7.5 million people in California experience a mental health disorder in any given year, but only one-third of adults who experience mental illness are getting treatment. The caregivers at hospitals know the obstacles people with behavioral health conditions face and the challenges in getting them the treatment they need. While hospitals embrace the essential role they play in addressing this crisis, more needs to be done. Solutions like payment reform, resource allocation, more outpatient and community-based services, a bolstered behavioral health workforce, and a statewide set of standardized core services will help Californians with behavioral health conditions access the care they deserve.
About Behavioral Health
CHA was part of a recent call with the California Health & Human Services (HHS) Behavioral Health Secretary, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and County Behavioral Health Directors Association (CBHDA) in which a number of COVID-19-related topics were discussed.
On Jan. 5, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued All Plan Letter (APL) 21-002 to all commercial full-service health plans and specialized health plans offering behavioral health services that are regulated by the department. The guidance is designed to ensure health plans comply with amendments made to Senate Bill (SB) 855 (Wiener, D-San Francisco), the mental health and substance use parity law that took effect on Jan. 1.
The California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA) reminds potential applicants that the deadline to apply for the Investment in Mental Health Wellness Grant Program for Children and Youth (Children and Youth Program) second funding round is 5 p.m. (PT) on Jan. 29.
Health Management Associates (HMA) has revamped the AddictionFreeCA.org website to include updated information and resources on substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, and medications for addiction treatment (MAT).
The Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission has announced the launch of five new dashboards on its Transparency Suite to support learning communities to drive program improvement. The dashboards will also inform community planning by improving public access to information on mental health services and outcomes.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its third-party administrators, Optum and TriWest, will reconsider payments to providers whose claims were denied because of simple routing errors, including claims that were submitted to the wrong VA payer (VA or a TPA).
On Oct. 17, President Trump signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act into law, designating 988 as the nationwide three-digit phone number to connect people experiencing mental health crises to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
A report from the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee examines how COVID-19’s health and economic repercussions have led to “an unprecedented mental health crisis” in America. The 13-page report summarizes earlier surveys and studies that have found:
Two-thirds of Americans fear that they or their loved ones will be exposed to the virus.
More than 12 million Americans are unemployed, and, since February, more than 5 million have given up looking for work.
Nearly one-third of adult Americans are having trouble paying for typical household expenses.
A web page maintained by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) may be useful for emergency departments and psychiatric hospitals in locating discharge sites. The list is alphabetical by county and includes all non-medical licensed residential facilities and alcoholism and drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities, as well as outpatient programs licensed and/or certified by DHCS. Contact numbers, addresses, and resident capacity are contained in the data.
This week, President Trump issued an executive order to support enhanced crisis intervention and other behavioral health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.